Superior-Greenstone District School Board continues to find ways to enhance connections and communication between its schools and parents or guardians with a series of new initiatives.
During the course of the last several weeks, parents/guardians were provided with the opportunity to create accounts in the new PowerSchool Portal, a tool designed to help share up to date information with families regarding their child’s education. By creating an account, parents/guardians gain online access to mid-term and final report card marks, live attendance data as well as providing them with ability to complete forms online.
Stacey Wallwin, Technology Enabled Learning and Technology Lead, said, “the School Board continues to use its online platform Edsby as their main communication tool for parents/guardians, students and staff. However, as we all know, there is not one ideal digital tool that meets all our needs. Many of us have different communication apps like Facebook and Instagram to connect with others, and many have multiple streaming apps for entertainment. Education is no different. By welcoming parents/guardians into the PowerSchool Portal, we have provided our families with great access to the information that matters, right at their fingertips”.
The launch of the PowerSchool Portal is also helping to support an important change that the Ministry of Education implemented across the Province. All students who began secondary school in the 2020-2021 school year are now required to earn two (2) online learning credits in order to graduate. Wallwin stated that “students who take an e-learning course have the flexibility to schedule their learning around other timetable offerings, while having a greater number of courses
to choose from. Students will be taught by an Ontario Teacher and connect with peers in the safe, online, provincial e-learning platform. As our world becomes increasingly digital, the important skills acquired while taking an e-learning course will transfer beyond Superior-Greenstone District School Board into our students’ post-secondary education and work lives”. Parents/guardians are free to have their child opt-out of this learning opportunity without any impact on the student’s graduation requirement. Parents/guardians can now login to their PowerSchool Portal account and select “forms”. If a child is currently in grade 9 or 10, and parents/guardians wish to opt-out of the mandatory e-learning, they can simply complete the online form.
Parents with students currently enrolled in one of the Superior-Greenstone District School Board high schools will now be contacted through automated attendance calls and texts to make parents/guardians aware of student absences. Charles Bishop, Superintendent of Education, states that “attendance auto calls are another mechanism for schools to be able to communicate with parents/guardians. But because these calls report student absences, they become a great opportunity for schools and parents/guardians to work together to support those students who may face challenges that hinder their ability to attend school on a regular basis. Regular school attendance is a major contributing factor to student success, and truancy is higher in schools in the North than the rest of the province. The more schools and parents/guardians can work together to support students to consistently attend school, the better it will be for the student’s success.”
All of these new tools are designed to align with the School Board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan. Director of Education Nicole Morden Cormier noted that “Superior-Greenstone District School Board strives to enhance our communication and transparency with our families and we look forward to the conversations and increased connections that will occur as a result of the latest technology enhancements.”